Mea A. Weinberg, D.M.D., M.S.D., R.Ph.

US Pharmacist. 2002;27(9) 

In This Article

Introduction

Sex hormones affect females starting from puberty, peaking in pregnancy, and persisting up to and even after menopause. During these periods of fluctuating hormone levels many medical and dental problems may arise. Sex hormones may alter the female's periodontium (producing, for example, gingival inflammation) and reduce her resistance to dental plaque (i.e., bacteria).[1] In addition, researchers have recently attempted to find a link between osteoporosis/osteopenia and loss of bone surrounding the teeth in postmenopausal women.[2]

Studies have shown a possible link between oral inflammation and pregnancy complications and preterm, low-birthweight babies.[3] Various biological immune markers present in the blood as a result of periodontal infection may serve as a risk factor for premature labor. This article will review factors related to women and oral health and discuss the role of the pharmacist in counseling female patients during these vulnerable life stages.

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